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Texts of the European Treaties




The texts of the principal European treaties are reproduced on pdf files, having been reformatted by the BMDF. These texts include the articles of the treaties and the final acts, together with the declarations attached to each treaty. In the cases of the treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice, the protocols are shown as well.

The table displayed below lists the principal treaties which form the primary legislation of the European Union. As each treaty becomes law, it is incorporated, or consolidated, into the existing treaty. Each treaty, after the initial treaties establishing the three separate communities, is a series of amendments to those treaties. As a result, the reading any of the later treaties in isolation would not give a good understanding of the nature of the treaty as a whole. This is the reason why we have consolidated the last three treaties (Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon) into the existing treaties and published our books on the European treaties.

As well as these main treaties, there are a number of others, of which the most important was the Treaty establishing a single Council and a single Commission of the European Communities, ratified in 1965 and generally known as the 'Merger Treaty', which combined the councils and the commissions of the three separate communities (coal and steel, economic and atomic) into one council and commission.

The Treaty of Rome, signed in 1957, known more often as the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, was the second treaty of the three treaties establishing the European Communities.
This treaty laid down the initial provisions for the economic community, including the development of the internal market and the common agricultural policy, and the structure of the Community institutions. In this treaty, the concept of qualified majority voting was introduced, while many areas were under unanimity. There were provisions drawn up in this treaty that after the initial period, a number of areas under unanimity would pass to qualified majority.

The UK Accession Treaty to the European Community is shown for information. The provisions principally relate to amendments to the existing treaties to incorporate more member states.

The Single European Act had as its main purpose the aim to formally change areas under unanimous voting to that of qualified majority, these changes following the terms as laid down in the Treaty of Rome for the time-scale of change-over.
This treaty was really brought about owing to the Luxembourg Compromise of 1966, which required the Community to take into account an individual member state’s concerns that its vital national interests would be damaged if a certain policy were adopted. Under this agreement, little progress in the formation of the internal market was made and the change to qualified majority voting was considered vital to improve the decision-making to enable the common market to develop.
Another aspect of the Single European Act was the introduction of the concept of a common foreign policy, termed European co-operation in the sphere of foreign policy and was the forerunner of the provisions introduced by the Maastricht Treaty. In the SEA, this was very much a broad brush approach with discussions and consultations rather than initiatives by the Commission with formal voting, as described in Maastricht.
The original date for entering into force was going to be 1 January 1987, but the Irish government could not deposit its ratification in time and so the date of entry into force slipped to 1 July 1987.

The Maastricht Treaty introduced the concept of the European Union and introduced the Treaty on European Union.
The concept of the Three Pillars of the Union was introduced in this treaty, concerning the first, or economic pillar, the Treaty establishing the European Community, the second pillar, the common foreign and security policy, developed from the provisions introduced by the Single European Act, and the third pillar, judicial and home affairs.
The most important aspects of the Treaty establishing the European Community were the introduction of the provisions for the introduction of the Single Currency and the social provisions. In addition, the voting process for co-decision was introduced Finally, a small but important change was to remove the word Economic from the title, indicating the fundamental change in the Community's approach to the Treaty and the ideals of the European Union as a whole.

The Treaty of Amsterdam introduced into the treaties the concept of the fundamental principles of the European Union (liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law).
The aim of the Treaty was to prepare the Union for enlargement and to develop the decision-making of the Community by developing the ‘Community Method’, where the institutions would form guidelines for the Member States, by strengthening the involvement of the European Parliament and introducing more qualified majority voting.
In addition, the Schengen aquis, relating to the removal of internal frontiers, the Social Protocol, having been agreed to by the UK government, provisions on visas and immigration and on environmental issues were incorporated into the main text of the treaties.

The Treaty of Nice continued the process of preparation of the Union for enlargement started at Amsterdam, including dealing with areas that had not been concluded at Amsterdam. These were the size and composition of the Commission, the reweighting of votes in the Council and the possible extension of qualified majority voting.
In addition, areas agreed at Nice included the development of the principle of enhanced co-operation within a small group of Member States, the incorporation of Eurojust into the treaties and judicial panels attached to the Court of Justice were introduced in order to free up the main courts.


The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe

The principal intention of the Constitution is to prepare and re-design the European institutions for enlargement, while not affecting the acquis communautaire of the European Union. In addition, the opportunity has been taken to codify and consolidate the disparate parts of the European legislation into a single document, including two principal Treaties, the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, and the five Treaties of Accession and repeals the existing Treaties. Under the Constitution:

  • all of the existing Treaties are repealed and replaced by the Constitution;

  • the Constitution forms the basis of a new European Union and replaces the existing European Union;

  • gives legal personality to the Union;

  • states that the Constitution and European Union law has primacy over the Member States;

  • gives the Charter of Fundamental Rights legal status;

  • draws together into two Protocols all of the Treaties of Accession, including the recent accession of the ten new Member States;

  • includes the explanations to the Charter of Fundamental Rights as a Declaration;

  • introduces a Union Minister for Foreign Affairs;

  • introduces an appointed President of the European Council, who will be in post for two-and-a-half years;

  • defines the areas of exclusive competence of the Union and the areas of shared competence with the Member States;

  • redefines the co-decision process as the ‘ordinary legislative procedure’ and terms other methods of voting in the Council as ‘special legislative procedures’.

  • extends qualified majority voting under the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision) to forty-four areas, of which nineteen are new areas. Sixteen areas are extended to qualified majority voting in the Council through the special legislative procedures, with five new areas.






Treaty Place of Signature Date Signed Date entering Force
European Coal and Steel Community Paris 18 April 1951 23 July 1952
European Economic Community Rome 25 March 1957 1 July 1958
European Atomic Energy Community Rome 25 March 1957 1 July 1958
Treaty of Accession: UK, Denmark and Ireland Brussels 22 January 1972 1 January 1973
Treaty of Accession: Greece Athens 28 May 1979 1 January 1981
Spinelli draft Treaty on European Union Brussels - -
Treaty of Accession: Spain and Portugal Lisbon 12 June 1985 1 January 1986
Single European Act Luxembourg and The Hague 17/18 February 1986 1 July 1987
Treaty on European Union Maastricht 7 February 1992 1 November 1993
Treaty of Accession: Austria, Finland and Sweden Corfu 24 June 1994 1 January 1995
Treaty of Amsterdam Amsterdam 2 October 1997 1 July 1999
Treaty of Nice Nice 26 February 2001 1 February 2003
Treaty of Accession Athens 16 April 2003 1 May 2004
Draft Constitution Brussels 18 July 2003 -
Constitution Rome 29 October 2004 -
Treaty of Accession Luxembourg 25 April 2005 1 January 2007
Treaty of Lisbon Lisbon 13 December 2007 1 December 2009








Text of the Treaty of Accession 2005



The principal texts of the Treaty of Accession 2005, relating to the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, are shown on the following pages. The texts are from the Europa web-site.


Text of the Act of Accession Text of the Act of Accession

Text of the Treaty of Accession 2003 Text of the Treaty of Accession 2005

Final Act of the Treaty of Accession Final Act of the Treaty of Accession 2005

Protocol attached to the Treaty of Accession 2005 concerning the conditions and arrangements for admission of the republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union Protocol attached to the Treaty of Accession 2005 concerning the conditions and arrangements for admission of the republic of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union













Text of the Treaty of Accession 2003



The principal texts of the Treaty of Accession 2003, relating to the accession of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia, are shown on the following pages. The texts are from the Europa web-site.


Text of the Act of Accession Text of the Act of Accession

Text of the Treaty of Accession 2003 Text of the Treaty of Accession 2003

Final Act of the Treaty of Accession Final Act of the Treaty of Accession 2003

Protocols attached to the Treaty of Accession 2003 Protocols attached to the Treaty of Accession 2003

Text of Annex I to the Treaty of Accession 2003 Text of Annex I on the Schengen Acquis attached to the Treaty of Accession 2003













Text of the Single European Act



The full text of the Single European Act is shown on the following pages.

As can be seen, the Treaty is a series of amendments to the existing Treaty of Rome and not a Treaty in its own right. As a result, the changes introduced by The Single European Act can only really be made sense of by consolidating the text into the existing Treaty of Rome.


Text of the Single European Act Text of the Single European Act

Final Act and Declarations of the Single European Act Final Act and Declarations of the Single European Act













Treaty of Accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities




The full text of the Treaty of Accession is shown on the following pages.

As can be seen, the Treaty is a series of amendments to the existing Treaty of Rome and not a Treaty in its own right.



Text of the Act of Accession Text of the Act of Accession

Text of the Treaty of Accession Text of the Treaty of Accession

Final Act and Declarations of the Treaty of Accession Final Act and Declarations of the Treaty of Accession











Text of the Treaty of Rome




The full text of the Treaty of Rome is shown on the following pages.


Text of the Treaty of Rome Text of the Treaty of Rome








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This page was last updated on 2 January 2010

© Copyright Andrew Cowgill, 2010


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